Though the Christmas season is well and truly over for the rest of the world, the Choral Scholars haven't yet let go of the season of giving. 6 weeks of practicing and only one rehearsal stands between us and a three-day recording session. It is hard to believe that it is nearly two years since we recorded ‘Perpetual Twilight’. It feels like only yesterday we were preparing for the first major project of my Choral Scholars career, but here we are working on our brand-new Christmas album!
Of course, an album is nothing without great music. Both of our previous albums include commissions by wonderful composers from around the world and this album is no different. Tim Stephens, Ivo Antognini and Eoghan Desmond have all made contributions to the repertoire of the Choral Scholars in the past and we are delighted to be recording their masterpieces yet again. Each composer has applied their own individual flair to traditional texts to create three uniquely contemporary perspectives on the Christmas story. As always, we try to reflect our heritage in our music whether that means performing repertoire in Irish, by Irish composers or based on texts by Irish writers. With that aim in mind we are looking forward to recording songs including ‘Cró na Nollag’ and ‘Curoo Curoo’ by Irish composer, Elaine Agnew. It goes without saying that we are recording several traditional Christmas carols expertly arranged by our artistic director, Desmond Earley. Some of my favourites include ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘The Wexford Carol’.
As with all our albums, we are incredibly lucky to be working with some of the top names in the industry. The incredibly talented Nigel Short will return to produce our third album for Signum Records. Similarly, we are delighted that Andrew Mellor will once again act as our sound engineer. One thing which makes this album special however, is that on this occasion we have the privilege of recording a number of pieces with the Irish Chamber Orchestra. Having performed with them before Christmas at Lyric FMs Choirs for Christmas concert, we are so excited to work with this phenomenal ensemble again!
Having recorded ‘Perpetual Twilight’ in my first year, I know what to expect this time around when we head to Blackrock College, where we will be recording: long sessions, intense focus and lots and lots of takes. But above all else what I know I can look forward to is an opportunity to make beautiful music that I will be able to listen back to in years to come and be proud of. That is the special thing about recording an album: it lasts! Music is transient so a recording is the only way to capture it. As a Choral Scholar I have been lucky enough to once again get the chance to capture wonderful music and I cannot wait!